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Texas Court: When Are You Liable for a Subcontractor's Safety Negligence?

Published in Bloomberg BNA's Occupational Safety & Health Reporter
Article | April 20, 2017

In light of the Texas Court of Appeals' recent decision in Joeris General Contractors, Ltd. v. Cumpian, this article examines a company's liability under Texas law regarding subcontractor negligence and how a now pending motion for rehearing could have far-reaching implications. It is noted that there are currently two narrow exceptions for when a contractor is liable for subcontractor safety: (1) if the general contractor is aware an independent contractor routinely ignores applicable safety guidelines or company regulations; or (2) if the general contractor gives on-site orders or directs the manner of performance in the injury-causing activity that is contrary to the safety regulations. Should the Texas Supreme Court take up the issue of which party is ultimately liable—the contractor or subcontractor—it could affect not only the construction industry, but also industries such as manufacturing, chemical, oil and gas.

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